Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2014 position: 81

It is not outside the scope of reasonable adjustments to require an employer to fund private medical treatment

The decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Croft Vets v Butcher may be surprising and even alarming to employers. This is despite the EAT emphasising that its decision did not concern the funding of private medical treatment in general, but a payment for a specific form of support to enable the employee to return to work and cope with difficulties experienced there. In this case, the private medical treatment had been recommended by the private consultant psychiatrist that the employee had been referred to by the employer. It follows that once the employer undertakes to refer the employee to a medical professional, they should be cautious about ignoring the recommendations.

Under the Equality Act 2010, every employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments where a ‘provision, practice or criterion’ puts a disabled employee (or job applicant) at a substantial disadvantage compared with others. Reasonable adjustments can be wide ranging and may include alterations to the employer’s premises or employee’s working arrangements. Whether an adjustment is reasonable will vary according to factors such as the size of the business and practicalities…

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